Don’t Hang Up
Running time: 83 minutes
Directors: Damien Macé, Alexis Wajsbrot
Cast: Gregg Sulkin, Garrett Clayton, Bella Dayne, Parker Sawyers
Two teenage pranksters get a taste of their own medicine, when a mysterious stranger turns their deadly game against them.
Be Careful Who You Prank!
Don’t Hang Up focuses on Sam Fuller (Gregg Sulkin) and Brady Mannion (Garrett Clayton), who spend their day’s prank calling innocent people and uploading the pranks online to gain social media stardom. Whilst Sam’s parents are away for the weekend, the two boys get up to some mischief by getting drunk, sending pizza to a neighbour’s house and pretending to be the police.
Their evening turns quite deadly when a prank call goes wrong and the person on the receiving end somehow calls them back, with some interesting information. The mysterious caller knows their names, addresses and whereabouts and using this information to his advantage; begins to play the two boys off each other. The one thing they must remember is…Don’t Hang Up.
The directors Damien Macé and Alexis Wajsbrot both claim that the film pays homage to the 90’s slasher craze with films like Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer and it is clear that the film shares typical horror tropes that you would have seen in these films. Like Ghostface in Scream, the killer dons a gruesome mask yet unlike Scream and without giving too much away, the true face of the killer is never revealed.
With these similarities to the older horror genre, I feel that the film prides itself on referencing new age horror with movies like Friend Request and V/H/S, particularly as the film is shot in a found footage style.
The opening montage is clever in setting up a background for each character without going into too much detail. The initial scene of the first video prank leads viewers into a false sense of security because it sets the film up as a run of the mill scare fest and then flips everything when you realise it’s all a prank. This leads onto several introductions to each character and with clever use of Dutch camera angles, swoops in and out of various other pranks that have made the group of friend’s viral sensations.
Horror movies tend to comment on issues of a much wider scale, using scare tactics to get their point across in an extreme way. The main issue that the film is dealing with is the dangers of the online world, particularly social media and how easy it can be for someone to find out where you live and what you do.
This is clear from the scene were the killer who calls himself Mr Lee hacks into each and every device that the two boys own, infiltrating all methods of contact in and outside of the house. It speaks volumes about the millennial generation who are obsessed by documenting all parts of their lives online, no matter how personal the information might be; anyone can find it.
The film is mainly set within one location and this adds a great sense of claustrophobia to the movie, the killer has threatened that if either of the two boys leave the house; someone they love will die. As their friends are picked off one by one, Sam and Brady start to lose their minds and almost lose their friendship in the process.
With any good horror movie, the audience are taken through different twists and turns all set up by the killer and yet I felt that the big twist at the end was very predictable. The film has some good scares throughout but I wouldn’t class it within the slasher genre, more so as a psychological thriller.
As a viewer, the film allows you to switch off and detach from any smart theories that you might have but the movie is also considered to be extremely predictable and lacking the shock factor.
The redeeming factor that I took away from the film was the directors use of fast paced editing and use of cinematography. There is a particular scene were Sam rescues one of the victims and his heroism is met with a high contrast of red, this dissolves any hope going forward; as any film goer knows that the colour red in any movie is an immediate sign of danger.
As a fan of any movie that requires some further thinking, Don’t Hang Up left me feeling very predictable and disconnected from the movie because it didn’t require much thinking at all. The two main actors carry the story fairly well but toward the end you begin to neither care if the killer catches them or they catch the killer.